Spring Vacuum Introductions Go High-Tech

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Floor care manufacturers are offering a fresh crop of vacuum cleaners this spring, using advanced technology designed to give retailers something new to talk about with customers.

Some of the units, many of them unveiled at this month's Gourmet Products Show in New Orleans, are enhancements of previously available floor care models. Others offer a new approach to cleaning, particularly in the area of non-carpeted floors.

Hoover, for example, has moved its WindTunnel technology, previously used only on upright vacs, to its canister line. Two new WindTunnel canisters, expected to retail in the $299 to $470 range, offer a dual-duct nozzle designed to keep dirt from coming in contact with the agitator. A transparent agitator cavity lets consumers see what's going on.

Hoover has also upgraded its Quik-Broom stick vac line. Five bagless, cyclonic-action models, in stores this month, have attached hoses with crevice tools. The top-end Quik-Broom has a powered brush roll that can be turned off for cleaning bare floors.

Also, Hoover has added a Caddy Vac line of five colorful uprights, each with a slide-on, removable tool caddy. The Caddy Vacs are expected to sell from $139 to $189.

New from Eureka for spring are six Smart Vacs: four uprights, a canister, and a "home cleaning system" that has floor-to-ceiling attachments, a motorized carpet nozzle and a double-sweep brush roll. Four of the units have true HEPA sealed filtration systems, and the other two have microfiltration systems. Two of the uprights have Dirt Alert electronic sensors.

Royal Appliance is entering the carpet cleaner/extractor market with its new, compact Dirt Devil Easy Steamer, planned for full national distribution by September. The lightweight Easy Steamer, expected to retail at around $150, has a three-motor system and a detachable 1-gallon clean solution reservoir plus a separate, quick-release tank for dirty water.

Also new from Royal is its first over-$200 upright, the Dirt Devil Swivel Glide Vision with Sensor, out nationally by October. The unit, a step up from Royal's original Vision model, sports new cosmetics. It is expected to retail in the $230-$250 range.

Royal has updated its original Mop Vac with the Mop Vac 2, which offers 20% more suction power, an improved wringer handle, and a longer power cord. It will be available in September at around $60.

Bissell has two new three-in-one vacs, the Easy Vac and the Easy Vac Plus, which convert from upright to canister to handheld. Both use the 3M Filtrete filter. The Easy Vac has a four-amp motor, while the Plus steps up to five amps.

New from Samsung this spring is the Junior hand vac, designed for use in small-space living areas. The unit weighs just over 2.2 pounds and has a transparent window over the dust bag and an optional tissue liner. Available in several bright colors, the Junior is expected to retail for about $50.

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